Monday, January 2, 2012

on newness and seeing clearly

Six years ago I bought a rug off Craigslist. It was a perfect fit for my new apartment, square, wool, from IKEA, and only $150 -- and not hellaciously ugly or cheap-looking. I hopped on the bus, picked up the carpet, hopped back on the bus (garnering strange looks from the bus driver) and then plopped it down in my living room. I was never in love with the rug, but it fit perfectly and, like most furniture, would be harder to get rid of than to just keep forever.

So I kept it forever.

Last year I bought a couch from IKEA and they didn't have the grey slipcovers to match the rug and the room, so I bought the pink slipcovers that were on sale (only $9!), figuring I would come back to IKEA when the grey ones were back in stock.

So, yeah, my couch is still pink.

Long story short, over time I've come to see that I like the pink couch better than the black-and-white rug, so just last week I got a cute new carpet that matches better and is much more me. In the process, I've gotten rid of some furniture, moved some other pieces around, and more or less come to see my living room again for the first time. I see the floor differently. I see the sofa differently. I see so many things that I wasn't seeing because I had gotten so used to the room.

I know it's just stuff, but tweaking your stuff can have a profound impact on the way you see the world. I've been really conscious lately of trying to make my external space a reflection of who I am at my best (not at my laziest).

Another example:
The highlight of my living room is not, in fact, the pink sofa, but instead is a mirror that you can see from every room in my house. I love the mirror and consult it regularly to see if my outfit matches or if my eyebrows are too bushy. In the process of moving in my new carpet, I realized just how dirty my mirrors were, so I cleaned them. All of the mirrors in my house. And I was SHOCKED to see how different I looked after simply cleaning the mirrors. Angles were sharpened. Details appeared finer, more crisp. I saw more of everything, good and bad.

While this is a true story, it's also a metaphor. (And you don't have to pay extra for that, folks!) Fiona Apple says it well in her excellent song, Window:
"... the fact being that
Whatever's in front of me
Is covering my view
So I can't see what I'm seeing in fact
I only see what I'm looking through"
So I ask you, what are you taking for granted (like I took my living room)? What are you allowing to blur your vision (like the dust on my mirrors)? What do you need to do to shake things up just enough to be able to see your filters and realign them?

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